When I started beekeeping I did not realize that one of the most important decisions to make was choosing the size of my hive boxes and I purchased 10 frame boxes since it seemed to be the standard. It is a lot more economical to make this decision in the start of your beekeeping journey due to the time and cost it will take to switch over from on configuration to the other. I wish I had done more research prior to purchasing my equipment because I found a lot of great YouTube videos like the ones over at Vino Farms who seemed to have the same beekeeping goals as me that I could have learned from.
While it's true that bee supply companies usually have lots of options and accessories for 10 frame hive boxes, if I could go back in time and choose again, the #1 reason why I would 8 frame boxes are easier to lift! I played football growing up and also liked to powerlifting, but I did not realize how heavy those hive boxes get when they are full of honey!
I actually use 10 frame boxes for my honey supers as well. This is because I like the idea of only having one type of hive boxes and frames which makes it easy to balance out the resources across hives for the winter. This is the #2 reason why I would have selected 8 frame vs. 10 frame if "I knew then what I know now".
The #3 reason why I would choose 8 frame boxes today is that they are easier for my bees to manage. Nectar and syrup is easier for the bees to evaporate in a smaller space, it's easier for them to regulate the hive temperature, and they just seem to like it better. If I think about it, bees like making nests in old hollow trees. Their nests in trees are typically narrower and taller, just like 8 frame hive configurations!
Below are some general comparisons of the two hive configurations:
|10 Frame||8 Frame|
|Heavy||Up to 20 lbs. lighter!|
|Bees don't always use space||Bees typically use all frames|
|Smaller clusters don't overwinter well||Better for overwintering|
|Shorter profile & less boxes||Taller profile & more boxes|
|Harder for bees to manage nest||Easier for bees to manage nest|
|More accessories available||Less accessories available|
I hope you found this information helpful when deciding which path to go and please visit our contact us page if you have any questions or experiences to share.